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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Structure Recommendations: Summer 2017


Streamline, provide consistent guidelines, and a single source of answers regarding the operational procedures that are required by the CFAES service centers (e.g., Business Operations Center, Human Resources) and other offices (e.g., Advancement, Government Affairs).


Develop an Operations unit to provide operational support for employees, clarification around policies and procedures, improve business efficiencies and responsiveness, and cooperate with college and university partners (units) to enhance operational effectiveness and improve competitiveness.


Offer regionally- and web-based onboarding and professional development trainings for all career stages that are cost effective to attendees.


Develop a searchable database that identifies Extension personnel’s specializations AND non-specialization areas of teaching expertise, so we can contact colleagues who are willing and able to support a wide range of educational/ programming needs.


Develop a coordinated approach to trainings/in-services that are scheduled a year or more in advance and that are designed to prepare personnel to achieve goals that address developing and evolving needs for the Extension system (including content, capacity, and operational needs).


Determine what to evaluate and develop consistent tools to evaluate outcomes determined by impact areas.


Support impact areas through cohesive, ‘non-silo’d’ units, including:

  • Product development to incubate new programs (perhaps with external guidance).
  • Operations to support proposal development and program operation processes.
  • Evaluation.
  • Professional development.

Hire great impact area leaders who demonstrate the ability to:

  • ‘Go all in’ – communicating the vision for and focusing on the impact area – being responsive to opportunities and challenges, as they are not spread too thin with multiple responsibilities.
  • Lead as an agent of change, bringing a fresh perspective – not stuck in a program silo or conducting ‘business as usual.’
  • Foster inclusion, building relationships across program areas and bringing people together through successful teams that are inclusive, co-led, well-managed, and committed to innovation, communication, evaluation, and recognition of impact.
  • Recognize existing impacts and what is happening at the local, campus, state, and national levels.
  • Proactively build partnerships. Add capacity and systematic systems for program support and innovation.
  • Hold people accountable. Manage conflict.
  • Collaborate for professional development with others scheduling time on Extension’s calendar. Stop professional development in program area ‘silos.'

County structure will consist of smaller county units/combinations (three-five counties) led by a county area leader (CAL) who holds a combined administrative leadership and programmatic role. County area leaders would supervise all county level staff and educators (potentially including SNAP and EFNEP). Area leaders would be supervised by the director of operations at the state level. Here are five possible models to consider.

  1. CALs would have a 50% administrative/50% program specialization (e.g., farm management, sustainable food systems). The program specialization could be delivered in the multi-county region (if funded by the counties in the multicounty region) or statewide depending on the funding source
  2. CALs would have a 50% administrative/50% educator appointment (e.g., 4-H youth development, FCS, ANR, CD). The educator appointment would be within the county in which the educator is currently working. The remaining 50% of the position would be backfilled to provide sustained programming at the county level.
  3. CALs would have a 50% administrative/50% program leader appointment. Strategically group counties together to create 8-12 county areas to include three CALs with different program disciplines (ANR, 4-H, FCS). This would allow the CALs to provide administrative leadership to four counties and program leadership to 12 counties. Community development leadership could be added to one of the CALs or provided from a state level.
  4. CALs would have a 75% administrative/25% specialization (e.g., farm management, sustainable food systems). Similar to proposal A, but may include more counties. Current challenge is that above 50% administration has no promotion track (except faculty positions), and opportunities are being discussed.
  5. Another possibility to create smaller units is to add more regional directors (one-three positions) to improve support for the current CEDs and not create CAL positions. These positions would have a 100% administration role and could cover 10-14 counties similar in size to the current EERAs, with the urban counties all grouped together as Extension in the Cities. This would be similar to a current RD role on a smaller scale.

The current thinking is that there are certain functions that should remain in the county. This is still in discussion, but for example:

  • County Level – approve timesheets and travel reimbursements, liaison with the county commissioners (may be different people)
  • CAL Level – budget development, expenditure approval and reconciliation, grant management, performance review (including observation of teaching), legislative work, filling position (including HRAs, etc.), back-up to county level for timesheets and travel reimbursements